Crane relies on diversified experience

By Tony Parra: PNT staff writer

Editor’s note: This is the fifth of five interviews with the finalists for the Portales schools’ superintendent position. Officials are expected to name a new superintendent on Monday:

Bobby Crane is a science teacher at Muleshoe High School.

Q: What aspects of your job will translate to the superintendent job?
A: I think the biggest thing is the way they are analyzing the testing data. I have experience with TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) testing and I believe New Mexico is heading in the same direction.
TAKS does a survey, tests and evaluates the school for all grades.

Q: What stands out about Portales schools from your observations?
Strengths: I think the way the Portales school district has survived for a long time despite stressful situations. People fight to get into the school. It’s a quality school that has lasted for so long and done so well.
Needs improvements: Obviously the AYP testing. That’s the first thing that has to be looked at. It’s a concern for Portales schools administrators. They want to improve their scoring.

Q: What qualifies you for the position?
A: I think, more than anything, experience. I’ve been able to see what administrators have done well and what they haven’t done well in the different school systems (Muleshoe, Portales, Eunice, Lubbock Cooper, Sudan, Texas, Vernon, Texas, and Graham, Texas).
I know what feels good to teachers and understand where they are coming from.

Q: None of Portales schools met Adequate Yearly Progress standards last year. Your impressions of that? And what needs to be done to fix it?
A: I don’t know how the testing was weighted. I believe the kids need to be more acquainted in the type of testing. They need to see what style it is and what is being weighted more so that they feel comfortable with the testing. I think that’s the first thing that needs to be looked at.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge the district is facing?
A: Probably the biggest challenge is being able to function under a limited budget, especially with the future needs of the district.

Q: Is there a way to make budget cuts that won’t impact instruction?
A: You can’t do it. The places where you can make cuts won’t make enough of a difference in the budget (utilities, equipment, etc.). To be able to make significant cuts, you would have to cut personnel and that will affect instruction. I want to be able to have a smaller teacher-to-student ratio.

Q: What must be done to make sure the online classes and the BHEC move are a success?
A: I think the administration did a really good job of looking at the online classes option. They have done a good job of forecasting what might go wrong to be able to make changes if needed. It’s (online courses) a change to be able to be successful in today’s society.
The Broad Horizons Educational Center move was purely financial. They (administrators) want to construct a parking lot on the east side for the Broad Horizons students. They want to try to be able to keep the students separate.
They’ve got to be able to change if something doesn’t work in both cases. They have to have an open-minded attitude.

— Compiled by PNT staff writer Tony Parra